USI’s Historic Southern Indiana will present the 2013 Community Legacy Award to Shoals, Indiana at 4:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, July 2 at the Martin County Historical Society and Museum located at 220 Capital Avenue in Shoals, Indiana.
Awarded annually to a southern Indiana community for its outstanding achievements in preservation, enhancement, and promotion of its distinctive heritage, the Community Legacy Award seeks to strengthen the quality of life for residents of and visitors to southern Indiana by paying tribute to excellence in standards of community development.
Nominated by Dr. Janice Guthrie, consultant for Martin County Tourism, Shoals is located on Indiana’s US 50 Historic Pathway and was selected as the seat of government for Martin County in 1844. A small community of 760, the town serves as an example to others in its sense of identity, history, unity, and hometown pride.
In 1937, several residents who recognized the rich history of the county founded the Martin County Historical Society. The goal of the group is to preserve the history of the town for future generations. Over the years, these individuals obtained the old county courthouse located in Shoals as a center for collecting artifacts including old photographs, history books, clothing, letters, and more. The courthouse is now known as the Martin County Historical Society and Museum and appears on the registry of historical sites.
Shoals conducted a survey in 2004 that focused on the revitalization and restoration of its downtown area. As a result of the survey, Main Street has been widened, new sidewalks have been constructed, benches and streetlights have been installed, and trees and flowers have been planted.
Throughout the year, Shoals hosts a variety of heritage related festivals and events. These include the Jug Rock Festival, Christmas Parade, Pancake Breakfast and Eater Egg Hunt, and Catfish Festival. These special events bind residents to each other, call back those who have moved away, and draw visitors from around the county.
Volunteers have played a significant role in the Shoals community. With the help of these individuals, the view at Overlook Park on US 50 has been cleared and the grounds, shelter, and restrooms are maintained. Volunteers have also painted the library and provided park benches along Main Street.
“Historic Southern Indiana is pleased to honor Shoals with the 2013 Community Legacy Award,” said Leslie Townsend, director of Historic Southern Indiana. “We were very impressed with the residents’ community pride, which is evident in such things as their work maintaining Overlook Park to their involvement in local events like the Catfish Festival and the Jug Rock Festival. The Martin County Historical Society has done a wonderful job preserving its courthouse which is now the home of the Martin County Museum.”
The Community Legacy Award includes a $1,000 cash prize. Shoals will use the funds to help construct a covered shelter on the lawn of the Martin County Museum. The shelter will maintain Shoal’s hometown atmosphere and provide a family-friendly location for events.
Previous recipients of this award include Aurora, Bedford, Ferdinand, Jeffersonville, Madison, New Albany, Newburgh, New Harmony, Orleans, Rising Sun, Tell City, and West Baden Springs.
Historic Southern Indiana, an outreach and engagement project of USI, was created in 1986 to serve the southern 26 counties of Indiana. Its goals are to identify, preserve, protect, enhance, and promote the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the region. It seeks to implement those goals through programs in historic preservation, history education, heritage tourism, community development, and scenic byways. Its office is a part of USI's Division of Outreach and Engagement.